The smallest state economy in the United States, Vermont nevertheless has had a significant impact in several economic sectors – especially those revolving around its agriculture and forestry businesses. Although it is not anticipated to experience tremendous economic growth, Vermont is one of the wealthier states in the US and is associated with several major brands.
Vermont is small and primarily covered in woodland, so it is no surprise that the timber and logging industries were very important in its early economic development. Over time the combined effects of over-logging Vermont’s forests and increasing competition abroad have forced the logging industry into decline, but in part its place has been taken by the profitable maple syrup production industry. Vermont is the native home to many varieties of trees that can be used to make maple syrup, and a full quarter of the US production of maple syrup takes place in Vermont.
Agriculture is still quite important in Vermont’s economy, although the number of farms and amount of acreage dedicated to farmland has long been on the decline. Of special importance to the Vermont agricultural sector is dairy farming, which has had a long history in the area’s agriculture. It is anticipated to decline as a total percentage of labor usage and gross state products, but the presence of specialty food producers like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and high end cheese makers is helping to keep agriculture alive in the state. In addition, the increase in interest in organic produce has led to the expansion of organic farming across suitable portions of Vermont, and contributes to its surviving agricultural productivity.
IBM is a major manufacturing employer in Vermont, and accounts for over a quarter of all manufacturing jobs in the state. Manufacturing has declined in Vermont as it has elsewhere, and in its place Vermont has cultivated the growth of captive insurance companies. There are hundreds and hundreds of captive insurance companies registered in the state of Vermont, more than in any other state. They are a significant part of the business presence in the state and have significant lobbying powers and the ability to hire workers.
Tourism is another vital sector to the Vermont state economy. A small state with a small population, Vermont is also gifted with extraordinary natural beauty. Wooded slopes of the mountains in the area provide excellent backdrops for hunting and fishing. Snowboarding and skiing are major draws to Vermont, and the state is home to numerous lodges, resorts, and other snow sport facilities. Employment in the tourist service industries constitutes a big portion of Vermont’s labor market.